This is probably my most-requested post of all time - a round up and feedback on the VERY BEST BUTTON DOWNS. I’ve been “working on it” for years now but never post it because I haven’t felt 3000% sure about my recommendations. Now that I’ve tried, tested, and worn out a gagillion button downs for all sorts of occasions I finally feel ready to commit (ha - I have no idea why I take my button downs so seriously!). Some of these I’ve worn for years, others are new to me, but all have been thoroughly reviewed for an extensive period of time.
Here we go!
Best all-around button down brand: Grayson (pictured above)
This brand is the newest to me, but unquestionably earned this title for several reasons, but the most critical is FIT. They size their shirts like panty hose, by height and weight, and I LOVE how they fit. Loose but not oversized, sleeves roll at the perfect point of your forearm, perfectly substantial collar size, and the first button is PERFECTLY placed approximately six inches from the collar (and boob-gap proof). They are also the perfect length and tuck, front tuck, and untuck beautifully. There is a reason the style is called “The Hero.” They are also a women-owned business that embraces working moms (they have a playhouse at their office!) and they use a lot of sustainable fabrics like lyocell. My friend works for their sister brand and suggested they reach out to me (thank you Keri!!) so they sent a few shirts for me to try. I wore them for several months, washed them, dried them, ironed them etc. before posting a review but I whole-heartedly embrace this line. The price point is also perfect in my opinion for selecting a few classic, perfect shirts you will wear forever but don’t want to over-invest in. Exact shirts I have and love:
The Hero: White Feathered Cotton Flannel: Definitely not a “flannel,” more a brushed cotton, this shirt has a great casual drape and a great hand feel. I wore this on two flights and trekking to my hotel in 100% humidity and it was soaked (gross I know) and then stuffed into my suitcase. I forgot to pack a travel shirt for my flight home so I dug it out and voila, looked good as new.
The Hero: Linen Button Down: I lived in these all summer. They wash well and did not shrink (thank god for a good non-dryclean only shirt) but they do require a quick iron. I wore mine at least 2x all summer and they still look like new. Also available in a slightly lighter weight here if you don’t want to pre-order.
Best casual button down: Frank & Eileen “Eileen” Shirt
This line is PRICEY (one major reason it didn’t take my top spot) but I love it too much to not recommend it. Their Eileen shirts are perfectly relaxed, a great length, and I LOVE their fabrics (Italian wovens). Their button placement is virtually the same as Grayson which I love but their collars a touch more substantial (better for a little pop ;). They wash and dry well, no shrinkage issues, and I can typically get away with ironing just the placket and hem quickly if I plan to roll the sleeves. I don’t care for tissue-weight button downs (too sheer and wrinkle prone) so I’d recommend avoiding their poplins and instead looking for keywords like “denim” “Italian moleskin” and “chambray.” These shirts sometimes have light distressing on the hem, placket, etc and I like the touch of character for casual wear. I recommend sizing down in these shirts (I am 5’10, typically take an L and am a comfortable M in these). Specific shirts I have and love:
Eileen Denim Button Down Shirt: This doesn’t read as “denim” IRL, it’s simply a heavier weight cotton (technically denim). I have this in white but love this dusty pink - I love the weight of this shirt, the slight texture to it, and my fave Eileen fit.
Eileen Thin Red Stripe: I have this fabric as well and it’s a great weight linen with a little crinkle to it!
Best crisp white button down, best formal work shirt, best non-iron: Brooks Brothers
I am really picky about “work” button downs - I despise the stretchy, fitted polyester shirts that seem to dominate the women’s workwear market and find them to be poor fitting with ill-placed darts, bad gaping issues and an awkward length that doesn’t look right untucked or tucked. It’s been year now that I’ve owned this ONE particular shirt from Brooks Brother and I only wish they made a few additional patterns because no other work shirt has held a candle to this one. It’s crisp, non-iron, travels well, doesn’t shrink, washes perfectly, and fits perfectly polished (not too fitted, not too relaxed). I order TTS in this shirt. Shirt I have and love:
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Classic Fit Dress Shirt: This EXACT shirt is the only one I recommend from BB - you have to be sure it has the forward point collar, the six-dart cuffs, is classic fit, and wrinkle resistant. They carry a ton of dress shirts but this is the specific shirt that takes the cake.
Best chambray button down: Frank & Eileen
Frank & Eileen won this category as well for all of the reasons listed above + a fantastic quality chambray. Shirt I have and love:
Eileen Chambray Button Down Shirt: Perfect distressing, white mother of pearl buttons (I prefer non-snap buttons on a chambray), and a neutral cut that doesn’t lean too casual, too western, or too stiff and is incredibly versatile. Buy this one shirt, forget about buying another chambray until 2055.
Please let me know if I’m missing out on any epic shirt brands - I’ll consider giving them a trial run post-no shop in prep for another review in ten years or so ;)
Photo my Amy Patrice Photo